Asma. A profound loss. An enduring inspiration

Asma-bbcAsma Jahangir: Pakistan human rights champion dies – BBC News

“Profoundly saddened by news of dear Asma’s passing. She has left us a rich legacy to follow. In condolence and solidarity”, writes Professor Badri Raina from New Delhi in an email to me and I. A. Rehman, former Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan that Asma Jahangir founded in 1987. “Our one tribute must be to keep up our human faith and human courage”.

Here is I. A. Rehman’s tribute to Asma speaking at the Karachi Literature Festival, soon after hearing the sad news. When I spoke to him later, he said, “I didn’t like doing it. Didn’t like it at all”. 

I.A. Rehman on Asma Jahangir at Karachi Lit Fest:

Badri Raina also sends this impromptu poem:


Fearless flame of liberty,
Asma, you had all things
Loaded against you, yet
How, through bulls and
Bullets, hate and calumny,
You steadied in steel
A path of reason and
Freedom, of universal
Oneness in common humanity.
Not once did you blink in the
Face of failure or menace.
Even when caged, the swaggering
Cowards were afraid of how
You might break the cage, and
With lion eyes, smash the edifice
Of their bigoted assertions.
You left a streak of courage,
Ripened in conviction of the
Finest empathies and in the
Resolve to carry on the fight.
There are many who feel the
Might of your legacy, and will
Stand by the light of liberty.

One Response

  1. The death of Asma Jahangir is a profoundly depressing event. She was a prominent human rights lawyer and social activist in Pakistan.
    Her death has silenced a rational and clear voice, a voice that stood for human rights, democratic values and the rule of law in a country which for long has been in the claws of ignorant mullahs and rapacious politicians. She was a candle alight facing the whirlwind of the forces of ignorance, darkness and violence.

    — Nasir Khan, February 11, 2018

    Liked by 1 person

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